A Thanksgiving tradition in our household and many others I'm sure is listening to Arlo Guthrie's Alice's Restaurant and watching the movie. Originally released in 1967 off of the album "Alices Restaurant". Happy Thanksgiving Sing-along!
It was used in the movie "Alices Restaurant" in 1969.
Guthrie also benefited from the fact that the late ’60s were a time when the rules for pop music had loosened to the point that “Alice’s Restaurant”, essentially an 18-minute monologue bookended by refrains that turn out to be non sequiturs, could gain great popularity. “I was adding to it, and if it was funny and it was true, I kept it,” Guthrie said of the song’s evolution. “And if it wasn’t funny and people didn’t respond to it, I dropped it. And so it was really–you know, it was performance art that I just memorized the best parts of.”
The first part of the story, a tale of small-town law enforcement run amok against the 60’s counterculture, actually happened to Guthrie, even though he added some exaggerated comic touches for effect. He was indeed arrested in Massachusetts for illegally dumping garbage for friends who lived in a former church, was brought before a blind judge, and had to pay a small fine.
Guthrie pretty much made up the second half of the song, a surreal visit to a U.S. Draft inspection station in New York, but the spirit of the story, that he was ineligible to serve in Vietnam because of his littering offense, was true. That bit of topicality meant that this shaggy-dog story hit home for a lot of folks even as Guthrie’s dry humor had them in hysterics.
This rendition of it was done by Arlo in the 90's.
ALICE MAY BROCK, born in Brooklyn, New York, on February 28, 1941. A Pisces … Grew from a difficult child to a juvenile delinquent to a regular (irregular) person … Spent a few years in high school …. reform school … fancy school …. Moved to the Lower East Side, then to the green greener Berkshires … Married crazy Ray D. Brock (picked up in old Cedar Street Tavern) … Worked as a librarian at the Stockbridge School … Bought a church … sang songs … Fooled around … Cooked good good food with a smile and other expressions … Bought a crummy diner …. Turned it into a crazy-yummy-cozy restaurant … Got tired … Got divorced … Got famed by Arlo Guthrie, an old friend who wrote the song “Alice’s Restaurant,” which inspired Arthur Penn to direct the movie Alice’s Restaurant–about Alice and Ray and Arlo and the Scene … now in the past. Thru it all Alice is a real live human bean–Still foolin’ around and still cookin’ …